Going to uni is an exciting time in anyone’s life. It’s your first taste of freedom — getting away from your hometown, and your parents, and you get to start off fresh and clean in a new school, starting a whole new chapter of your life.
It can be both really exciting and really nerve-wracking, and you might not know where to start when it comes to packing. If you have the urge to literally pack up everything you own and bring it with you, don’t. First off, there’s not enough room, and second of all, you’re not going to need it all.
There are certain things that you should absolutely bring when you’re heading off to uni — most of them being different types of storage, and anything to make your tiny room that much more comfortable for you to live in for the entire school year. There are also some things that you should absolutely leave home, not only because you don’t need them, but simply because there’s not enough room in the tiny standard dorm rooms.
When deciding what to pack when you’re heading off to uni, choose wisely. Make use of the space that you have, and make sure you don’t bring your entire closet or things that are just going to take up space that you already don’t have.
These are 12 things every student should bring with them to uni and 12 that they should leave at home.
24 BRING: Shower Shoes
If there’s one thing you should absolutely bring, it’s shower shoes. When you’re living in a dorm without your own private bathroom, you’re forced to share with others, and honestly, depending on who you’re sharing a bathroom with, it can get a little gross. Sharing a bathroom means sharing everything from sinks, to toilets, to showers. Now, the last thing you want to do is step into that community shower barefoot. That’s why one thing you really need to make sure you bring are shower shoes. From legitimate shower shoes to an old pair of flip flops, it doesn’t matter what they look like, just make sure you bring them; you never know what’s on that shower floor.
23 BRING: Headphones
When living in a dorm room, you’re living in extremely close quarters with your roommate. It’s easy to step on toes, and it’s easy to get on someone else’s nerves. If you’re the type of person that needs background noise to do work, whether it’s listening to music or keeping a show playing, headphones are your best friend. Not everyone is like that, so it’s important to be mindful of your roommate and use headphones. If you’re both just hanging out, then it’s not necessary. But if they’re trying to sleep or study and you can’t leave the room, don’t be a jerk, use your headphones!
22 BRING: Mattress Topper
If you’re living in a standard dorm, and don’t have space or the luxury to really spread out, or have furniture like a couch or a chair. In this case, your bed it truly your go to. Nine times out of ten you’ll be sitting on your bed, and even if you have friends over, they’ll most likely be sitting on it too. That’s why it’s super important to make it as comfortable as possible. Usually, the mattresses that the school provides you with aren’t the most comfortable, and they’re pretty standard mattresses. By simply adding a mattress topper you can make your bed a million more times comfortable. That’s something you definitely shouldn’t forget!
21 BRING: Command Hooks
Your dorm room is pretty much your home away from home for the entire school year, so it’s only natural to want to make it feel like your actual home. If you really want to decorate; hang photos, posters, and other things, the best way to do so is by using command hooks. Most schools won’t allow you to use anything that could potentially damage a wall, such as nails, or hooks, or anything that puts a hole in the wall. Therefore, the best way to get around this is by using command hooks. There’s no mess, they don’t damage the wall, and they’re easy to take off and move around. They’re not too expensive, either. Definitely a good investment!
20 BRING: Dry Erase Board
Dry erase boards can come in handy for a number of different reasons, so we think it’s something you should definitely bring with you. It’s a good way to communicate with your roommate, leaving reminder notes, things you might need to get at the store, things like that. You could hang it on your door and it can be used for almost anything, even reminders for yourself or events coming up. You could even get a dry erase calendar, to put all of your things and roommates together, all in one place so there’s never any confusion!
19 BRING: Shower Caddy
Going hand in hand with the shower shoes, this particular item is important when you have a community shower. You don’t have the luxury to leave things like shampoo and conditioner in the shower like you do at home, since it isn’t yours. A shower caddy is a perfect solution. You can keep everything you need in one place, and as long as you get something that’s waterproof, you can take the entire thing into the shower with you. It’s convenient, and oftentimes super cheap to buy, too. A shower caddy is a definite must-have when you’re attending college.
18 BRING: Under Bed Storage
When you live in a dorm room, oftentimes you have very limited space. As a result, you really want to make the best use out of the space that you do have available to you. That means that under the bed storage is a definite must-have when you’re dorming. Anything that’s flat and stackable would be perfect. You could store extra clothes, linens, and even shoes underneath your bed, this way it doesn’t take up your closet space, and it is in more of a neat and organized manner. You could find all different types of under the bed storage in the store, you just have to find one that’s best for you!
17 BRING: Air Mattress
One thing that you really might want to bring when you’re dorming is an air mattress. You might think, huh, why would I need that? The answer is pretty simple. If you have someone visiting you and they’re staying over, whether it’s a friend from home, a family member, or even someone staying in another dorm, they need a place to sleep. It’s not fun squeezing two people in a twin bed. Having an air mattress handy is perfect for having an overnight guest, and it’s really easy to store and not bulky at all.
16 BRING: Desk Lamp
When living in a dorm room, chances are there’s only one big, bright light in the room, which is not ideal when it comes to being conscious of your roommate. A lot of people are night owls when getting work done, and if the library is not an option, you might have to do some of your late night studying in your dorm room. In that case, a desk lamp would be your best friend. You can have a little light to study, but not enough to disturb your roommate. Not to mention, it would be nice to use when you need a break from the bright light.
15 BRING: Bed Risers
We all know by now that dorm rooms aren’t the biggest of spaces, and you have to make use of what little space you do have. One thing that could really help to make extra space are bed risers. These little plastic risers go underneath the bed’s legs to raise it up a few inches to allow for more space under the bed to store things. Some risers also come with the option to have a plug in them, which is perfect for charging your phone or laptop, and having the cords reach your bed. Definitely, a must have!
14 BRING: Over The Door Storage
To further your use of every space possible, you should consider purchasing and bringing over the door storage. This is perfect to utilize even more space, because you can store smaller things such as accessories, or even socks and other smaller items. There are also over the door storage things that can hold shoes, which is perfect for utilizing your space since shoes can take up a lot of room. You have to be smart about the space that you do have, and utilize it in ways that you normally wouldn’t, and what better way to do that than an over the door storage unit?
13 BRING: Water Filter
One thing that is a must-have when you go away to college is a water filter. Of course, you could always purchase a case of bottled water and use that, however, let’s be honest here, do you really have the room to store that? These days you can buy reusable water bottles that have built-in filters in them so you can drink any water, whether it’s from a water fountain, or even from the sink in the bathroom. The filter ensures that any water you drink is clean and safe to do so. It’s honestly killing two birds with one stone — you don’t have to buy bottled water, and you can be a little more environmentally friendly!
12 DON’T BRING: Appliances
One thing that you should definitely leave at home are any appliances. First of all, nine times out of ten your school won’t allow you to bring them with you. Second of all, there’s no reason to even have them. There’s no room in the dorm room for them, and most of the time dorm buildings have community appliances that you’re able to use whenever you want. Besides, if you have a meal plan you won’t be doing much cooking, anyway. So, save your time, space, and money, and leave your microwaves, coffee makers, and hot plates at home.
11 DON’T BRING: Printer
Many people think that when they go away to college that they should bring their own printer. In all honesty, it’s another thing that just sits there and takes up space, and you probably won’t end up using it that much. Yeah, it might be convenient when you need to print something out in a pinch, however, that’s what the library is for. It seems silly to bring something that’s already provided for you. Even if your school makes you pay to print things out, it’s probably a lot cheaper to pay for paper than an entire printer, but that choice is up to you.
10 DON’T BRING: Too Many Clothes
Much like when you go away on vacation, you tend to overpack and bring things that you swear you’ll wear, but you actually won’t. The closets that you have in a dorm room aren’t exactly walk-in closets, so you’re already set back when it comes to space. If you don’t think you’ll wear it, then don’t bring it. If you haven’t worn it in the past few months, chances are you won’t be wearing it when you’re away at school. You also don’t need a ton of dressy clothes, either. Chances are, going to and from class you’re just going to want to be comfortable. Don’t overpack!
9 DON’T BRING: Candles
Candles are a huge no for a very obvious reason — they can easily start a fire. Of course, they would be nice to have since they smell nice, they’re really pretty, and they would be a good addition to your room and remind you of home. However, you really don’t want to burn your whole dorm building down, so it would probably be best to leave them at home. Don’t think you can try and hide them, either. Most of the time there are fire safety inspections, so don’t get caught with a candle!
8 DON’T BRING: Furniture
Lucky for you, when you’re living in a dorm, they’re already furnished for you. There’s no reason to go out and buy any type of furniture. Most of the time, a bed, dresser, armoire, desk, and chair are already provided for you. If you’re not sure what’s already in the room for you, you can always check ahead of time on your university’s website, or check with someone at the university since every school is different. There’s no need to go out and buy furniture that you’re never going to use, or that you won’t be able to fit in your room. Moral of the story, always check first!
7 DON’T BRING: Full-sized Vacuum
You might think that you’ll become super domestic, cleaning every chance you get and making sure everything is spotless. Let’s be honest here; you’re not. There’s no reason to bring a full-sized vacuum for many reasons. First of all, there’s no room to store it. Second of all, how often do you think you’re going to be vacuuming your tiny dorm room? The answer is not very often. If you’re so worried about bringing one and keeping things clean, opt for a smaller, more compact one, or even a dust buster. No reason to bring a hoover!
6 DON’T BRING: Plates And Cutlery
Much like appliances, you really don’t need to bring actual plates and cutlery. You’ll rarely be eating full meals when you’re in your room, especially if your room doesn’t have a kitchen and you won’t be doing any actual cooking. You’ll most likely be eating at the dining hall, where everything is already provided for you. If you do decide to have something to eat in your room, most of the time it’s things that are microwavable like mac and cheese, or other pre-made snacks. Therefore, you should leave the plates and other cutlery at home.
5 DON’T BRING: Expensive Jewelry
Just like clothes, if you don’t think you’ll wear it, or haven’t worn it recently, chances are you aren’t going to wear it when you’re away at school. This is also important for jewelry. Dorm rooms aren’t hotels. They don’t come with a safe that you can store things in. If you’re afraid of losing jewelry that’s expensive and important to you, don’t bring it. Chances are, there won’t really be a need for fancy jewelry. If you do have the rare time that you have to dress up, you will definitely live without wearing your fancy jewelry. Definitely leave it at home!
4 DON’T BRING: What Your School Supplies
Like we said before, always check with your school to see what’s already supplied for you. You can check to see what furniture is already in the room, if there are blinds or shades on the windows, if there’s a mirror, the type of mattress, anything you want to know about the room you should find out beforehand. The last thing you want to do is to show up to move in day with all of these things that you don’t need or don’t fit in the room. Don’t be foolish, do your homework and think ahead!
3 DON’T BRING: Luggage
Obviously, if you’re going to a university that’s far from home for you, you’re going to have to bring your clothes in some sort of suitcase. However, it’s a little hard to store a bunch of pieces of luggage in your room. If you can avoid it, you should. Try using things like duffle bags that could be folded and stored easier, or even give your parents your luggage back after you unpack it. If you can take your clothes on hangers, try that too. Whatever you can do to minimize having to store luggage in your room, definitely do it.
2 DON’T BRING: Too Many Decorations
Of course, when you move into your dorm room, you’re excited to make it your own because it’s going to be your home away from home for quite a few months. It’s always good to make the room your own by bringing posters, photographs, and anything else that represents you. However, it’s important to not really overdo it. As we’ve said before, dorm rooms can be a little small. Therefore, if you go over the top with decorations, filling the walls and surfaces with things, it could make the room look a heck of a lot smaller. It’s always good to decorate, just don’t go crazy.
1 DON’T BRING: What Your Roommate Brings
One of the most important things you could do when planning on bringing things to your dorm room is communicating with your roommate. Talk things out with them, see what they plan on bringing and what they already have. You don’t need to show up on move-in day to see that you both brought the same things, and have double of everything. It’s also good for you, since you can save money and not have to buy things that your roommate might already have. Communication between the two of you is key, and very important! It can save you a lot of headaches.